Meal Prepping :: The Key to Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle

Meal Prepping:: The Key to Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle | Houston Moms Blog

New Year, New You

This time of year, we are bombarded by every gym, every health food store, and every trainer letting us know that it’s time for a New Year, New You. It’s time to start exercising, eating right, and making those choices that will help us become the best version of ourselves.

But it can be a lot, right? I certainly feel overwhelmed with the thought of all the heavy calories I consumed and my lack of exercise throughout the holiday season. This time can be especially anxiety inducing if you are just jumping into your health journey. Should I start with exercise? Should I join a gym or sign up for one of those health groups I keep seeing on social media? What do I eat?

I began my health journey about 7 years ago. I was 30 pounds overweight and had never seen the inside of a gym. And I began with EVERYTHING at once :: new diet, new workout regiment, new supplements, etc. Spoiler:: this was a terrible idea, and I don’t recommend it. It was hard to cultivate and maintain several new habits at once, and I fell off my routine. A lot. 

Eventually, through many, MANY trial and error periods, I found a diet and workout system that worked for me. I still fall off, but with discipline and a lot of time, I’ve acquired some good habits and more importantly, some solid information on healthy eating and exercising. Because of these habits and information, I’m able to maintain an overall healthy lifestyle. 

My Number One Strategy for Success

While I want to stress that the key is time {change doesn’t happen overnight!} and finding a system that works for YOU, I do have one tip for you in starting your journey. And it’s one that you’ve probably already heard :: meal prepping. I know, I KNOW. You’ve already got a million and one things to do, a kid hanging on your leg whenever you try to cook, and zero idea of what you’re making for dinner tonight, let alone for the week ahead. I feel ya. However, I can honestly tell you, this particular habit significantly changed the outcome of success for my health journey. When I plan my meals for the week and take the time to prep them- slicing veggies, prepackaging snacks, or making lunches for the week ahead- I reduce my chances {and temptation} to order out at the end of the day, hit up a vending machine at work, or, my particular weak spot, reach for a sugar laden coffee drink when I need an energy hit. 

5 Tips for Effective Meal Prepping

  1. Make a Plan. This one seems obvious, but before you make your grocery list, plan out your meals! Think of all the meals you eat during the day and make a plan for each one. And when you’re making your plan…
  2. Keep It Simple. Meal prepping gets overwhelming when you attempt to cram too many ideas into one plan. Select recipes that can be cooked or prepared in bulk. Think sheet pans full of veggies for roasting, cooked and shredded chicken in an Instant Pot, or crock pot soups and stews. 
  3. Don’t Forget Snacks! Random snacking between meals can be a huge obstacle to success in your health journey. Be intentional. Make a plan for snacking throughout the day. Think easy {and portable!}:: yogurt and fruit, smoothies, hummus and veggies, dried fruit and nuts. 
  4. Stick to Your Plan. Changing your habits is challenging. The point of meal prepping is that you’ve thought about the points in the day where you’re most likely to fall away from your goals, and you’ve prepared for them. When it’s 3pm and you’re struggling for energy, reach for that sliced apple and peanut butter you’ve brought with you. When it’s Thursday evening after a long day, and all you want is a pizza, heat up the shredded chicken and roasted veggies you made Sunday afternoon. Sticking to your plan sets you up for success. 
  5. Mix It Up. I know, I just told you to keep it simple and stick to it, so this one seems contradictory. But what I mean is each week, mix it up. Choose different recipes from week to week. Even when you find something you really like, wait a week or two before including that in your plan again. Remember, you’re setting yourself up for a successful week, so prepare for that obstacle of getting bored with your food. 

And good news! If you don’t know where to start, there’s a TON of meal prep ideas out there. Hit up your usual Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram searches. You’ll find prep ideas for every meal. Today, I want to share with you one of my favorites. Thanks to my Instant Pot, it comes together in under an hour and I have lunch {or dinner} for the rest of the week. This recipe is packed with protein, pairs well with rice or cauliflower rice {or your side dish or choice}, and it’s husband and 2 year old approved. I’d say that’s a winner. Enjoy!

Cilantro Chicken and Lentils Bowl

{Adapted from Pinch of Yum. See original recipe here.}

Ingredients ::

2 cups dry lentil {any color}
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
2 cups salsa verde
4 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp salt, plus additional to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions ::

  1. Add all ingredients to Instant Pot.
  2. Cook on manual setting on high for 20 minutes. Quick release the pressure.
  3. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice. Top with additional cilantro, lime, diced/pickled red onion, and shredded cheese {or if you’re feeling fancy, queso fresco or feta}.

Do you do a weekly meal prep? Share with us your go-to, healthy recipes! 


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